About five years ago, George Mamo was relaxing at home watching TV when an advertisement promoting Kokoda Track tours piqued his interest – and emotions. The fact that more than 600 Australians were killed and nearly 1700 wounded during the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea in 1942 was not lost on George, who is of Maltese descent but a proud and passionate Australian.
George was in the early stages of establishing his own caravan brand, and ‘Kokoda’ had struck a chord with him, so he decided to make a proposition, albeit with compassion and dignity at the frontline of his mind.
George approached the Victorian RSL which referred him to the offices of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion which approved his ‘Kokoda’ request, on the proviso that Kokoda-built caravans were 100 per cent Australian made.
Kokoda sold almost 400 caravans in its first year of operation and that has now increased to about 1000 per year.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
CW recently tested the 6m (19ft 8in) Kokoda Platoon II XL X-Trail, which is one of many military-badged units in Kokoda’s company of caravans. The Platoon and our tow vehicle, the beefy CW Toyota LandCruiser, were loyal mates as they effortlessly trekked the steep tracks of the You Yangs Regional Park in Little River, Vic. And the 340m climb to reach the granite-encrusted Flinders Peak Lookout (the highest point of the You Yangs) for the photoshoot was a piece of cake.
Make no mistake, this is a fully-equipped offroad caravan with external features such as an extended A-frame (with a reinforced bar in the middle), front mesh stone shield, checkerplate front and sides, heavy-duty offroad tyres, generator hatch, two 150W solar panels, 100Ah dual batteries, two 95L water tanks, two spare wheels, two 9kg gas cylinders, two jerry can holders and a front toolbox.
George was keen to highlight the Platoon II XL X-Trail’s one-piece floor made of 16mm plywood. “The floor is like a foundation of a house… As a caravan travels it flexes, and joins can lift and vinyl can stretch. But that’s not the case in the Platoon,” he said.
The van is also packed with premium internal features such as full ensuite with ceramic vanity, full-height pantry, Annahide upholstery and a 2.2kg washing machine.
The Platoon II XL X-Trail ticks all the right boxes to my mind, and that’s further accentuated in its myriad of creature comforts – washing machine, mini grill, microwave, shower, toilet, 19in TV/DVD player, radio, LED lighting, Aircommand Ibis air-conditioner, and Thetford 185L three-way fridge/freezer.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Platoon II XL X-Trail is a serious Australian-made offroad touring warrior. It certainly takes pride of place in the Kokoda regiment.
I reckon its tough build and stubborn resistance to the harshest elements will have it tackling rugged tracks and pathways from one corner of Australia to the other.
At $63,990 plus on-road costs, the Platoon II XL X-Trail is mission accomplished.
- Good offroad capability
- Value for money
- One-piece floor
- Battery system could be improved
- No undercarriage stone protection
- No external shower
The full test appears in Caravan World #542 October 2015.